Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...

After begging, pleading, beguiling, and wheedling, Ms, Bumblebee has gotten her wish.  We set up our Christmas tree, decorated it and have begun tucking little remembrances underneath of it.

I've been reading a lot about the evils of plastic, paint, and outdated chemicals (Not to mention the questionable current ones) lately,  So as we pulled out dusty boxes and started our decorating process, my thoughts slid from logistics and Christmas carols to lead paint and BPA.

I let my mind wander to the ongoing debate of a green Christmas.  Which is more environmentally friendly?  A fake tree, or a "real" pine tree?  When a living one just isn't feasible, anyways?

Most arguments seem to surround the length of usable time we get out of the average artificial tree.  I've seen estimates ranging from 3 to 10 years.  And since plastics take forever (yes, forever...I'm not hyperbolizing.)   to break down in landfills, often ending up in a huge plastic island in the middle of the ocean, the cost just doesn't seem worth the benefit. takes nearly as long for a tree to grow.  Even under the best of responsible farming practices. 

There are also allergies, bugs, sap, etc to contend with.  Not to mention potential pesticides and other treatments used on affordable trees.

My tree is artificial.  It's also not entirely plastic, and probably covered in lead based paint.  You see, it once belonged to my grandparents, circa the late 60's.  Well before I was born (and no, it's not glittery or pink.  It may have been crafted before technicolor trees were in vogue, I'm not actually sure.  The box itself disintegrated and the instructions have long since vanished.  But it's faux pine, intended to look realistic.)  When my parents moved, their lovely tall tree no longer fit in the living room.  They had to choose between cutting a hole in the ceiling, and replacing the Christmas tree. The ceiling won, their tree went to my Grandpa's church and my Grandma's old tree went into my parent's living room.  I have fond memories of helping my dad sort through multicolored branch tips as we spread everything out in the living room and crawled around trying to remember which color came first.  Eventually my parents tired of the stress, and we tried chopping our own, or shopping at a corner lot, but I still vividly remember "our" tree.

So when I had kids, and decided it was time for a full sized tree on a pint sized budget, I called up my parents and asked if they happened to still have the pieces in their garage.

"You don't want that old thing," they said.
But I did.

And now it just wouldn't be Christmas without a tangle of branches to ease into pre-drilled holes, a tumble of "fuzzies" to hide the wooden dowel trunk (Does anyone know how I can replace these?  We seem to lose a few every year)  and the kids teetering between "The tree, the tree!" and "I don't think it's going to work, Mommy..." and "It's looking right!  It's looking right!"

My tree is artificial.  Putting it up might be a hassle, and taking it down twice as bad, but in the end, it's our tradition.  We'll keep it in our garage, instead of the landfill, lead based paint and all.  We'll wash our hands, and avoid chewing on fake pine needles. If I were to stop using it, it would stop being "green" and end up in a landfill.

So we'll sit in front of the twinkling lights, letting our thoughts go.  And enjoy our "real" tree.

(And before anyone mentions it's bedraggled state, once it's decorated, I get plenty of comments on it looking real!)

1 comment:

Karen said...

We have fake tree, it is fifteen plus years old, it was my fathers before mine. I have mold and dust allergies, so I can only visit people with real trees, I would be a mess if I lived with a real tree.